Manny Douglas records first win as head football coach at St. Bernard High School

PLAYA DEL REY — Manny Douglas recorded his first win at St. Bernard in a manner he’s all too familiar with — by blowing out a Los Angeles City Section team.

Douglas’ St. Bernard team took down Birmingham, last year’s Open Division City champions, 58-28 in a rare Wednesday night high school football game. Douglas came to St. Bernard after winning nine City titles and two state championships at Narbonne. His Gaucho teams were notorious for winning big against City opposition.

Douglas resigned from his post at Narbonne in February of 2020 following a months-long Los Angeles Unified School District investigation into the football program surrounding player eligibility.┬áHe’s now in the process of rebuilding St. Bernard and judging from Wednesday’s scoreline and last week’s late defeat to Loyola, the Vikings are a program on the rise.

“This is spring ball,” Douglas said following St. Bernard’s win. “We’re trying to grow up and teach lessons. We’re starting 13 freshmen so I think we’re learning, we’re growing up and we’re getting better and learning how to compete.”

In the first half, with the game still in the balance, the St. Bernard freshmen played like seniors. On the Vikings’ first play from scrimmage Terrell Cooks scored on a 75-yard TD run. On St. Bernard’s next possession, Darius Curry hit Zacharyus Williams for a 37-yard touchdown. Cincere Rhaney finished the night with three scores of his own.

Douglas thinks his first year players still have a long way to go, but they certainly impressed on Wednesday.

“We knew we were going to play the young guys this spring because I’d rather them make their mistakes now than later,” he said. “We could easily play Sierra Canyon’s freshmen team with our freshmen and we would have won, but what does that matter?

“Right now, with no playoffs, it just makes sense to play the young guys and sometimes they make dumb mistakes, but they’re getting better. We’ve built programs and we know how to put kids in the right positions.”

The best non-freshman for St. Bernard was senior defensive back Jhamell Blenman. He had an acrobatic second half interception and covered star Birmingham junior Arlis Boardingham well.

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